Holidays

Cleaning House = Cleaning Brain

Mondays. Usually they are the start of the new work week and the harbinger of another five days of constantly having to answer questions. Not today though. Today it was a day of sleeping in, cooking a nice meal and starting the big spring cleaning process that I’ve been wanting to do for a couple of weeks now. The weekends are always too short to do projects like this though so it’s nice that I have more time now to really dive into all the stuff I’ve been hoarding and, hopefully, getting rid of a lot of it.
Today I started with personal hygiene and care products. Working at the head office of a big drugstore chain has gotten me a lot of free stuff on the make-up, shower, perfume and body care spectrum. A lot of stuff that I don’t use or that has gone bad over the years of not using it up. I dove into two bags and a crate of the stuff and ended up with two bags full of things that I could throw out. Body creams and sunblock gone bad. Perfumes that were free samples but smelled absolutely horrible. Hairsprays that didn’t really work anymore and the list goes on. It felt liberating throwing everything out and now I’m left with a crate of stuff that I actually use and keep in my bathroom. It’s mostly shampoo/conditioner, shower gels and foams, body care products and some toothpaste. I’m prepared for summer with two different types of sunblock and some after sun. I also own a ton of facial cleansing products since I like to clean my face before I go to bed and put night cream on so I feel clean and hydrated in the morning.

I notice that next to working towards a cleaner and less cluttered house, it’s also decluttering my brain. Not having to be annoyed at random bags in my bedroom anymore feels really nice. Being left with stuff that I know that I will actually use is even nicer. I don’t want to say that I’m a minimalist, because I’m really not, but I don’t want to take stuff home with me anymore that I know I won’t use that someone else actually will. So now I’m left with the necessities and it’s making me happy.

I also realized that I’ve owned Animal Crossing for more than 10 days on my Switch now which means that I can actually see how much time I’ve put into the game so far. According to my Switch it’s somewhere between 15 and 20 hours. Which means I’m playing a little over an hour each day and that sounds about right. I’m actually not really actively working towards anything right now. I’m mostly just running around my island and making sure I dig up my fossils every day aswell as find the money rock and do some fishing and bug catching. I guess I’m aiming to get the next installment of my house paid so I can upgrade again and start making some individual themed rooms instead of the one big room I have now.
I’m kind of amazed with how other people have shaped their island by all the pictures I see on Reddit and Twitter. I know a lot of people do “time traveling” to unlock stuff. Which basically means they’ve been tampering with their date and time settings on their Switch. Personally I don’t feel the need for that and instead am just doing my own thing. Which is fine aswell.

I’m not sure why I suddenly feel the need to blog so much. Maybe without my work I finally have the headspace to focus on other things. If I had more than one week off I would have considered joining Blapril as active participant since it seems like writing is coming much more naturally now that I have the time. However since I have only one week off and my work will probably be slightly crazy as I get back to it I’m going to shy away from Blapril and just do what I feel like in the moment. No stress. No commitment. It’s nice for a bit.

Taking a breather

Thanks to the COVID-19 virus I’ve been working at home for the past two weeks. Next week though I’ll still be at home but not working.
I was looking forward to a four week vacation at the start of the year. Three of those weeks I would be spending traveling around Japan from Tokyo to Kyoto and then ending at Nagasaki. That vacation has obviously been cancelled due to everything going on in the world. However I felt that I needed some time off still since I’ve not had proper time off since last september. I’m quite exhausted and in severe need of some mental reset time, especially when it comes to work. My manager offered I could take two weeks off but since the country is as good as on lockdown it’s no real use taking that much time off when I can’t really go anywhere to enjoy it. So a week it is and I’m hoping that during this week I can get back to a bit more relaxed level and be ready to tackle work again for a while once the week is over.
I can honestly say though that the whole working from home thing has gotten to me. I feel crazy isolated, even more than normal. I managed to completely ruin my sleep schedule in a single week and I’ve been struggling with cooking healthy meals or eat at normal times. I’m trying to undo this damage now and atleast my food times have gone back to normal but I’m still battling major feelings of loneliness and depression right now.

As you’ve undoubtedly seen on other people’s blog this year we’re not doing Blaugust but Blapril. Mostly to give people some social interactions during the very daunting month that is looming ahead of us. I think the idea is great but I’m still on the fence about participating. As I said I’m in a really bad headspace right now and I don’t want to vent too much about it on here. I want to keep my blog a mostly positive space where I can write about what I’m up to in my gaming life and not all the anxiety that I’m experiencing on a daily basis right now. And I can’t seem to write a post without exactly that seeping through, as this post is a good example off. So I will definitely participate as bystander and cheer people on from the sidelines but I doubt I’m going to commit to anything myself.
My mood may change though so I’m not going to pin myself on anything yet, but for now I’m happy to not add extra pressure on myself to maintain any kind of regular blogging schedule on top of trying to fix everything else that has gone awry for me in the past two to three weeks or so.

One of the things that has helped me get through the days has been Animal Crossing. It launched at exactly the right time for a lot of people and I’m one of them. I’ve had the pleasure to visit a few friends’ islands and I’ve tried opening up my own island to people aswell but it seems like whenever I do no one is really online. Oh well.
I’m taking a very relaxed stance towards the game, playing for about an hour every day, sometimes two. I go around my island every day to dig up fossils and catch some fish and some bugs. I also make sure I always harvest all of my fruits and I’ve had my first bridge expansion done. Which also lead to three more villagers joining my island so now I have five goofy animals running around instead of just two. My villagers so far are Hamlet, Lydia, Alfonso, Pinky and Fauna. I enjoy all of them and I actually invited Pinky myself from the island I found her on.
Today the little tent that Tom Nook occupied finally got built into a visitor’s centre whichs means I’ll get Isabelle back on my island aswell. I can’t wait!
From here I kind of want to start getting some of those surprise island tickets to see if I can get to the fabled tarantula island but mostly so I can get off my own little island for a bit.
All in all I’m enjoying myself and the game is helping me relax at the end of a busy day of work so that’s always a good thing. Right?

Now for my week off I have a few specific things in mind that I want to get done. I’ve already gone through my clothes closet today and made a bag for donations which I will probably drop off in a special bin tomorrow. Next to that I took a ton of stuff with my from my dad’s house that I couldn’t really decide on whether I still used it or not. Seeing as most of the stuff has been in one of my drawers under my bed for almost a year now and I’ve not had to use any of it leadse me to think that I may aswell get rid of most of it because right now it’s just taking up space. So that is exactly what I’m going to be doing this week. Get rid of stuff I don’t use so I have space for other things that I do use or that are now sitting around in a bag somewhere waiting to be stored in a better place, like my christmas decorations.

I also have some plans when it comes to gaming. I’m still leveling my Void Elf Warlock, she just hit level 90 about two hours ago, and I want to get her up to level 120. And then maybe start on a new character after that. I also want to get back into FFXIV to tackle all the new content and do the Easter event. I’m not sure why I’ve bounced so hard from that game but for some reason I have and I want to get back into it and get my few remaining battle classes to level 80 and catch up on the story and tackle the new raids and dungeons.

Finally I’m going to finally take a decent shot at playing through either Final Fantasy XV or World of Final Fantasy as preparation for the Final Fantasy VII remake that is coming in about two weeks. Both games have been sitting on my shelf for a very long time and it’s about time I start playing through them. I’ll probably start anew because I have no idea where I left off in my last save game and I’m sure with an entire week off I have enough time to actually get a decent way into the story of either one of them.

For now though I’m going to back to leveling my Warlock the rest of the evening while half watching some League of Legends streams. What are you doing this weekend?

Sandy’s Sunday: Checking In

Hello everyone! It’s me! Just wanted to do a quick post as a sort of checking in on my blog.
I’ve not really felt the need to write anything for the past two weeks. Mostly because holidays and work getting in the way and also because I honestly didn’t know what to write about without spoiling too much for my December in review post that I will put up on New Year’s Eve.

It’s been a weird few weeks with a lot of days off and people not being around. A colleague unexpectedly found a new job, effectively leaving my team with one person short. We’ve also been dealing with all the people having time off around the holidays and as such I’ve had a lot of time where I was the only person who would be around. It was great for a while since it gave me the opportunity to finally get around to cleaning up my overflowing mailbox, I went from 100+ emails down to 8, and checking up on aswell as preparing various projects for the new year. Work is still busy as ever but now that I’ve sort of “caught up” I’m confident that things will work out better in January.
I took January 2nd and 3rd off myself so I effectively have 5 days off starting Tuesday afternoon. Usually we go home earlier on New Year’s Eve so that’s nice. To keep myself entertained for this extended weekend I decided to pick up a hobby I haven’t touched in a long time: puzzling. I bought myself a brand new nice looking 1000 piece puzzle yesterday and I will take full advantage of my five days off to get it finished. I actually started yesterday evening with sorting all of the pieces and putting down the edges. It gives me something to do besides gaming and I’ve noticed that once I get into the zone of things I find the relaxation I’ve been looking for.

All things considered I’ve been relatively doing okay. I’m still very much exhausted although having days off around the holidays have helped me to kind of catch up on much needed sleep and relaxation. I’m still going strong when it comes to leveling stuff up in FFXIV, which I will tell more about in my December in review post, and I’m trying to find a set time every weekend to dedicate to single player games. I’m almost finished with my Pokémon Sword playthrough and it has helped tremendously to just pick a timeframe to start up the game and make progress in it. My best friend already beat the game so I can’t lag behind for too long and after that I may turn my attention to a new game or keep the slot for Pokémon for a while so I can work on completing the Pokédex. A feat which I’ve never accomplished in all the years I’ve been playing Pokémon. I think the closest I’ve gotten is in Pokémon Blue where I caught 146 out of 150 of them and maybe in my Pokémon Moon playthrough where I was on 2/3 of the Pokédex completed. Right now I’m around 80/400 Pokémon caught in Sword so I still have a way to go but it’s not the 1000+ Pokémon I would have to be staring down if they implemented a National Dex.

So yeah. I’m still alive. I’m still gaming. And a true gaming update post is coming up!

Pokémon Holidays

So Christmas came and went and it left me with a nice sore throat. It’s not a constant painful feeling but whenever I yawn, cough, sneeze or swallow it kinda hurts. Unfortunately no pain meds will actually work so I’m just going through the motions and waiting till it subsides on its own. This ofcourse has sparked some arguments at home because “oh my god why don’t you just take pain meds even though you said three times over they don’t work”. Apparently hearing her own opinion is more important than my autonomy over what actually goes into my body. I’m so happy to be moving out in less than four months.

Now onto the fun stuff! Due to being “forced” to socialize I’ve actually gotten a lot of time into Pokémon LetsGO during the 25th and the 26th. Apparently being social just means being physically present and not actually engaging with people so that’s fine by me. As you can see in the above picture I’m past Lavender Town and the Pokémon tower. I really wanted to screenshot this moment because I think it’s rather beautiful and a good indication of the storytelling in Pokémon LetsGO. Even though I’ve played through Kanto multiple times and can dream up the story by now I’m still quite surprised by how much I actually enjoy this installment.
Right now I’ve beaten Gym number 5 and am working my way to number 6 while catching as many Pokémon as I can along the way. Partially to start filling up my Pokédex and partially to help level up my existing team. I’m rolling with Eevee, Alakazam, Pidgeot, Venusaur, Charizard and Blastoise right now and I’m fine with that setup. I may actually ditch either Pidgeot or Alakazam at some point for the Dratini evolutions but all in all I’m happy with the team I now have. Even though I didn’t plan to play as much Pokémon as I have I atleast made a decent few steps in the game and am every so slowly moving towards the endgame.
Next to this I’ve also picked up Pokémon Go again. I don’t really walk around with my phone much but I make sure to catch atleast a Pokémon every day and spin a stop since I can do both from the comfort of my own home. I should probably go out more but my phone is in a state where I can’t put too much strain on it or the battery will just run dry, even after replacing it. I’m patiently waiting to move out before buying a new phone though because right now getting furniture for my house is more important than a new phone.

I’ve also poked my head back into WoW on Christmas Day. I opened the yearly Winter’s Veil gifts and set out to do the two scenario’s I wanted to do: Tyrande’s Ascension and the complimentary black Night Elf eyes and the Blood Elf Heritage quests as pictured above.
I like having a bit more lore to chew through and I was pretty engaged with both activities. The Blood Elf heritage quest is rather interesting. It basically tells you about the fall of the High Elf empire by the hands of Arthas and the subsequent loss of Sylvanas Windrunner, Anasterian Sunstrider and the Sunwell. It also shows you why the Sunwell was destroyed and the impact it had on the society. I’m pretty chuffed with the racial armor aswell so all in all that questline was a positive experience for me.
I really enjoyed Tyrande finally taking destiny in her own hands aswell. It’s been a long time coming that the Night Elves start to kick ass again and I’m happy to see the no-nonsense that is now empowered Tyrande + Malfurion. I really hope Blizzard can somehow maintain this storytelling and I’m quite curious where the Night Elf story goes after this.
I also have to report that playing on Draenor and Silvermoon, two of the biggest EU servers, has become an absolute pain in the ass due to extreme server lag. I’m thinking about going back to Dragonblight and my Warrior partly because it’s simply less laggy there and partly because I have some friends coming back to WoW and their characters are there. I guess I’ll see.

On the FFXIV front progress has been slow but steady. My monk is probably going to ding 67 tonight or tomorrow morning and I’ll hopefully be 70 somewhere during this weekend. This means I only have my Dark Knight and Samurai left to level. With Blue Mage supposedly coming out on January 15th I can see myself picking that one up after finishing off the traditional jobs. All that remains after is clearing out all the outstanding endgame quests, gear up my White Mage (and possible other jobs) and start leveling my crafters. All in all I still have plenty to do in FFXIV and I’m sure I will carry on the playing streak well into 2019. All in all I’m getting some good game time in during my holidays. Now I just need to find some time to fit in FFXV…

Holiday Goals

Typing this blog post on my tablet I realise how busy I have been over the past month and a half.
I started a new job in November and I have been making crazy days, leaving me to come home absolutely shattered and not wanting to do anything but relax and sleep. Even now during Christmas time I can’t really get properly rested seeing as I have a very full schedule and have to work a few days in between Christmas and new year’s eve.
However since I do have a bit more free time than usual I wanted to draw up a small post of things I want to get done within the next week. So here we go:
In FFXIV
● Finish off dragoon zeta.
● Level Ninja to 60
● Do starlight celebration on both Moogle and Cactuar character.
Other games
● Play through as much of the “Inside Out” plays et on Disney infinity as possible. Currently 3 levels done.
● Advance in Pokemon X as much as possible.
My FF goals have priorities over the other two, but I think only playing FF will drive me nuts. Plus I am not home all the time and I can take my 3DS with me on the road.
Hopefully a new year will bring a bit more peace to my life so I can start living more regularly and plan stuff better.  For now I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.